Sexual Health news - Men’s Sexual Health

Physician education may be needed to ensure widespread HPV vaccination in males

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued recommendations for 11- and 12-year-old males to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and that boys and young adults – aged 13 to 21 – receive catch-up inoculations.

However, healthcare providers appear to be a step behind in implementing these guidelines, according to research from Boston University School of Medicine.

Authors of the study surveyed 23 physicians and eight nurse practitioners in Boston, asking them about their attitudes and behaviors about the HPV vaccine. The researchers discovered that about 77 percent of the health professionals were in favor of male vaccination, while just 12 percent offered it to their young male patients.

The healthcare providers said they sometimes hesitate to broach the topic with their patients' parents because they anticipate a lack of interest in an inoculation for males meant to prevent cervical cancer. Additionally, the researchers said that physicians may be unaware of the risks involved for men who contract HPV, including anal, penile and oropharyngeal cancer and genital warts.

"Although we believe the new recommendations will likely cause some improvement in HPV vaccination levels for males, their adoption may remain slow if physicians are unaware of the rationale behind the strengthened recommendations," explained lead author Rebecca B. Perkins, MD, MSc.

Authors of the study said that their findings indicate that a healthcare provider's attitude toward the inoculation may play a big role in determining whether his or her patients will receive a recommendation to get the vaccine. Also, the researchers reported that physician education on the HPV inoculation may be needed to increase the rate of vaccination for the incurable virus.

Individuals who get the HPV vaccine should know that it does not protect against pregnancy or other sexually transmitted diseases.